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ELEGY I.

1 'TIS night, dead night; and o'er the plain
2 Darkness extends her ebon ray,
3 While wide along the gloomy scene
4 Deep Silence holds her solemn sway:
5 Throughout the earth no chearful beam
6 The melancholic eye surveys,
7 Save where the worm's fantastic gleam
8 The 'nighted traveller betrays:
9 The savage race (so Heaven decrees)
10 No longer thro' the forest rove;
11 All nature rests, and not a breeze
12 Disturbs the stillness of the grove:
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13 All nature rests; in Sleep's soft arms
14 The village swain forgets his care:
15 Sleep, that the sting of Sorrow charms,
16 And heals all sadness but Despair:
17 Despair alone her power denies,
18 And, when the sun withdraws his rays,
19 To the wild beach distracted flies,
20 Or chearless thro' the desart strays;
21 Or, to the church-yard's horrors led,
22 While fearful echoes burst around,
23 On some cold stone he leans his head,
24 Or throws his body on the ground.
25 To some such drear and solemn scene,
26 Some friendly power direct my way,
27 Where pale Misfortune's haggard train,
28 Sad luxury! delight to stray.
29 Wrapp'd in the solitary gloom,
30 Retir'd from life's fantastic crew,
31 Resign'd, I'll wait my final doom,
32 And bid the busy world adieu.
33 The world has now no joy for me,
34 Nor can life now one pleasure boast,
35 Since all my eyes desir'd to see,
36 My wish, my hope, my all, is lost;
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37 Since she, so form'd to please and bless,
38 So wise, so innocent, so fair,
39 Whose converse sweet made sorrow less,
40 And brighten'd all the gloom of care,
41 Since she is lost: Ye powers divine,
42 What have I done, or thought, or said,
43 O say, what horrid act of mine
44 Has drawn this vengeance on my head!
45 Why should Heaven favour Lycon's claim?
46 Why are my heart's best wishes crost?
47 What fairer deeds adorn his name?
48 What nobler merit can he boast?
49 What higher worth in him was found
50 My true heart's service to outweigh?
51 A senseless fop! A dull compound
52 Of scarcely animated clay!
53 He dress'd, indeed, he danc'd with ease,
54 And charm'd her by repeating o'er
55 Unmeaning raptures in her praise,
56 That twenty fools had said before:
57 But I, alas! who thought all art
58 My passion's force would meanly prove,
59 Could only boast an honest heart,
60 And claim'd no merit but my love.
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61 Have I not sate Ye conscious hours
62 Be witness while my Stella sung,
63 From morn to eve, with all my powers
64 Rapt in th' enchantment of her tongue!
65 Ye conscious hours, that saw me stand
66 Entranc'd in wonder and surprize,
67 In silent rapture press her hand,
68 With passion bursting from my eyes,
69 Have I not lov'd? O earth and Heaven!
70 Where now is all my youthful boast?
71 The dear exchange I hop'd was given
72 For slighted fame and fortune lost!
73 Where now the joys that once were mine?
74 Where all my hopes of future bliss?
75 Must I those joys, these hopes resign?
76 Is all her friendship come to this?
77 Must then each woman faithless prove,
78 And each fond lover be undone?
79 Are vows no more! Almighty Love!
80 The sad remembrance let me shun!
81 It will not be My honest heart
82 The dear sad image still retains;
83 And, spight of reason, spight of art,
84 The dreadful memory remains.
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85 Ye powers divine, whose wondrous skill
86 Deep in the womb of time can see,
87 Behold, I bend me to your will,
88 Nor dare arraign your high decree.
89 Let her be blest with health, with ease,
90 With all your bounty has in store;
91 Let sorrow cloud my future days,
92 Be Stella blest! I ask no more.
93 But lo! where, high in yonder cast,
94 The star of morning mounts apace!
95 Hence let me fly th' unwelcome guest,
96 And bid the Muse's labour cease.

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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): ELEGY I.
Author: Samuel Whyte
Themes: night; love; death
Genres: elegy
References: DMI 29211

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Source edition

A collection of poems in four volumes. By several hands. Vol. IV. [The second edition]. London: printed for G. Pearch, 1770, pp. 251-255. 4v. ; 8⁰. (ESTC T116245; DMI 1137)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.